NEWS RELEASE March 20, 2008 Milton, Fla.
Forty-nine residents living near the Joiner Landfill have been added to a nuisance and negligence lawsuit filed against Milton-based Joiner Fill Dirt LLC. The Joiner Landfill was opened as a repository for construction and demolition debris. After Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis, the landfill received gypsum-drywall debris, which produces hydrogen sulfide gas as it degrades. Exposure to hydrogen sulfide "which gives rotten eggs their characteristic foul smell" causes burning eyes, headaches, nausea, fatigue and respiratory problems.
The landfill's owner, Joiner Fill Dirt LLC, allegedly failed to follow state landfill regulations and permit conditions. As a result, an excessive amount of hydrogen sulfide has been produced at the facility–at times the concentration of the gas measured in landfill fissures has been 43,000 times higher than the odor threshold recognized by the state department of health–and the poor conditions have allegedly caused multiple landfill fires.
On March 30, 2007, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection filed suit against Joiner Fill Dirt in Santa Rosa County Circuit Court, alleging that the landfill owner violated permit conditions and Florida rules and regulations. Specifically, the FDEP claimed that Joiner Fill Dirt failed to apply cover soil on a weekly basis, openly burned solid waste, racked up numerous odor violations and violated particulate-matter regulations.
On March 18, a lawsuit filed in the Santa Rosa County Circuit Court, First Judicial Circuit, by nearby residents against Joiner Fill Dirt over the landfill conditions was amended. Forty-nine residents were added to the lawsuit, which alleges that the owners' actions have resulted in physical reactions from exposure and loss of use and enjoyment of their property. There are now 90 plaintiffs in total. The plaintiffs are represented by Jacksonville, Fla.-based attorneys Van Kirk McCombs of the Law Offices of Van Kirk McCombs II, Todd Hageman of St. Louis-based The Simon Law Firm, and Tracy P. Moye of the Tallahassee, Fla.-based Moye Law Firm.